Page content Page content Section navigation Topic navigation Accessibility keys Sitemap Search Contact us portal
Go to Waikato Regional Council homepage
search icon mail icon contact us icon

  Council » Policies and Plans » Rules and regulation » Waikato Regional Plan » Waikato Regional Plan (online version) » 3.9 Non-Point Source Discharges* » 3.9.4 Implementation Methods - Non-Point Source Discharges

3.9.4 Implementation Methods - Non-Point Source Discharges


Advisory Notes:

  • There are a number of other parts of the Plan that refer to activities and issues regarding non-point source discharges. These are:
  1. Education about avoiding adverse effects of livestock in water bodies (Method
  2. Rules and regarding livestock entering and crossing the beds and banks of rivers and lakes.
  3. Education about avoiding, remedying or mitigating the adverse effects of land use (Method
  4. Land management practices that may contribute sediment to water bodies (Method
  5. Rule in respect of soil cultivation adjacent to the beds of rivers and lakes.
  6. Management of non-point source discharges in the Lake Taupo Catchment (Methods in Section 3.10).
  7. Rules and in respect of soil disturbance and vegetation clearance activities adjacent to water bodies, Rule in respect of Coromandel catchments and Rule for areas immediately adjacent to sinkholes or cave entrances.
  8. Water bodies and banks of water bodies that are sensitive to spray drift (Method Good Practice

Waikato Regional Council will encourage the use of good practice in land use activities and practices that reduce non-point source discharges. Waikato Regional Council will, in conjunction with organisations and industry groups, provide guidance in the development, implementation and review of good practice guidelines and codes of practice for land use activities which cause non-point source discharges.

Advisory Notes:

  • A good practice guide for fertiliser application is included in Section 3.9.7 of this Plan. Environmental Education*

Waikato Regional Council will, through environmental education programmes, raise the awareness within the community about appropriate land management practices and streamside management. In particular, regarding:

  1. the positive effects of enhanced streamside management as a means of mitigating adverse effects on water quality and aquatic ecosystems,
  2. the exclusion of livestock from the beds and banks of water bodies,
  3. the fencing of streamside areas,
  4. the effects of land use on ground water quality and the promotion of well head protection,
  5. methods of fertiliser use and application that minimise adverse effects on water quality and aquatic ecosystems,
  6. appropriate plants for enhancing riparian areas and pest control techniques for animal and plant pests.

Advisory Note:

  • There are close links between this Method and Method (Accelerated Erosion) and Method (River and Lake Bed Disturbances) in of this Plan. Integration with Territorial Authorities

Waikato Regional Council will work with territorial authorities to promote:

  1. management options which seek to avoid or minimise the adverse effects of nonpoint source discharges into water,
  2. integration of regional and district plans for land use which have potential adverse effects on water bodies,
  3. a co-ordinated approach to stormwater management and land use activities in areas with degraded water bodies. Economic Incentives

Waikato Regional Council will consider financial support of projects that would assist significantly with minimising the impacts of land use activities on water bodies. Streamside Enhancement Fund

Waikato Regional Council will make available a fixed contestable fund, reviewed annually, to support and facilitate streamside management. Investigations will be undertaken to identify areas in the Region that are most at risk with respect to adverse effects on water quality, or will benefit most from streamside enhancement. The results of this will be utilised when considering applications to the fund. Risk Based Investigations

Waikato Regional Council will carry out a risk-based analysis to identify riparian areas and water bodies which are particularly sensitive to land use effects such as sediment and faecal material entering water, and establish priority areas to encourage and implement good practice with regard to streamside management. Livestock Access

If the current extent of adverse effects attributed to livestock having access to water bodies is not reduced significantly at the time of plan review or by 2005, whichever is the sooner, then rules to exclude livestock from water bodies identified in Method as being particularly sensitive to land use effects, will be implemented as part of the plan review or by way of a plan change. Nutrient Research

Waikato Regional Council will undertake and where appropriate encourage investigation into:

  1. the adverse effects of fertiliser use and nutrients on water bodies
  2. farm management techniques that make the most efficient use of nutrients inputs while minimising leaching
  3. methods to prevent nutrient contamination of water bodies. Fertiliser Use

If the current extent of adverse effects attributable to fertiliser reaching ground and surface water is not reduced significantly at the time of plan review by 2005, whichever is the sooner, then rules to control fertiliser use, or nitrogen leaching, on land adjacent to water bodies identified in Method as being particularly sensitive to land use effects, will be implemented as part of the plan review or by way of a plan change. Part XII RMA Enforcement

Waikato Regional Council will apply for enforcement orders, issue abatement notices and use other enforcement mechanisms in Part XII of the RMA where any of the following adverse effects on water bodies occur as a result of inappropriate land use practices:

  1. Severe bed or bank erosion, and/or;
  2. Significant discharge of sediment or nutrients or other contaminants to water bodies leading to:
    1. significant adverse effects on aquatic life, or
    2. significant adverse effects on the uses and values of water bodies, or
    3. significant adverse effects on other users of water, or
    4. significant adverse effects on water quality, or
    5. Water Management Classes being compromised.
  3. The direct discharge of fertiliser into water resulting in significant adverse effects on water quality. Permitted Activity Rule – Fertiliser Application

The discharge of fertiliser* into air and onto or into land outside the Lake Taupo Catchment is a permitted activity subject to the following conditions:

  1. The discharge shall not result in any objectionable odour or particulate matter beyond the subject property boundary.
  2. The discharge does not result in any avoidable direct application of fertiliser to any water body.
  3. Where the fertiliser is being used in other than domestic gardening situations the fertiliser must be applied in accordance with the NZ Fertiliser Manufacturers Research Association, 1998 (updated 2002): Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use.
  4. A nutrient management plan of the type specified in Table 3-10 must be used to plan fertiliser application where nitrogen fertiliser is being applied at rates greater than 60 kg/N/ha/year.
  5. The contents of the nutrient management plan required by condition d) must be made available to the Waikato Regional Council upon request.
  6. A nutrient management plan shall be provided to Waikato Regional Council on request in accordance with condition d) where fertiliser is to be applied to an area of land that has also had farm animal effluent applied to it within the preceding 12 months.

Table 3.10 Nutrient Management Requirements by Land Use Type

Land Use Type Nutrient Management Plan Requirements
All Land Uses applying more than 60Kg N/ha/yr A nutrient management plan must be prepared that, as a minimum records the following information for at least nitrogen (N) and phosphate (P) (in units of kg of N and P per hectare per year) :
  • Inputs from fertiliser.
  • Inputs from other sources such as manures, green crops and soil mineralization.
  • Outputs in product.
  • Results of soil testing for levels of available N and P.
  • Documentation of consideration given to climatic and soil conditions for the life of the crop to account for the effects of rainfall and irrigation on the potential for N and P leaching through the soil in to ground and surface water.
  • Practices that will be implemented to reduce nutrient and sediment losses from the property and to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects on the environment.
Pastoral The nutrient management plan specified above must be developed based on the outputs of either Overseer (Agresearch) or any other nutrient management planning tool that meets the criteria set out in the fifth advisory note below.
Commercial Vegetable and Fruit Production, Arable/Mixed Cropping and Livestock or any other land use not otherwise captured in this table From 1 January 2011, the nutrient management plan specified above must be developed based on the outputs of any nutrient management planning tool that meets the criteria set out in the fifth advisory note below. 

Advisory Notes:

  • The discharge of fertiliser into air and onto or into land that does not comply with Rule is a discretionary activity in accordance with Rule
  • Application of fertiliser should follow the good practice guide on fertiliser use in Section 3.9.7 and any other relevant industry nutrient management tools, including “Doing it Right” (the Franklin Sustainability Project, 2002).
  • The processes for determining the objectionable effects of odour or particulate matter beyond the property boundary are set out in Chapter 6.4 of this Plan.
  • This rule does not specify a nutrient leaching rate for the model. It is Waikato Regional Council’s intention to survey modelled leaching rates and if necessary develop rules that specify nutrient leaching rates for sensitive locations in accordance with Method
  • In order to comply with the requirements of this Rule Nutrient Management Planning tools other than Overseer and SPASMO must:
  1. Be a Crown Research Institute, University or Industry developed model that has successfully completed commercial trials commensurate with climatic, terrain and soil conditions expected to be encountered in the Waikato Region.
  2. Be able to predict annual, seasonal or crop nutrient losses at either a paddock or total crop area scale with a margin of error no more than 30%.
  3. Have been calibrated against current versions of either Overseer or SPASMO, or versions that are no more than 3 years old, and any departures from those models when using identical data sets documented and explained.
  4. Have product maintenance and support currently available as of the date of use or guaranteed for a period of one year.
  • A register of nutrient management planning tools that meet the criteria set out in the above advisory note is maintained by Waikato Regional Council. If by 2011 models that meet these criteria have not been developed for the subject crop or land use, a model based on the crop or land use with the most similar nutrient leaching behaviour will be acceptable.

Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting Methods to
The above methods provide a range of non-regulatory methods as provided for in the policies in Section 3.9.3. There is also one permitted activity rule for the discharge of fertiliser into air and onto or into land outside the Lake Taupo catchment.

Method encourages Waikato Regional Council to work with organisations, industry groups and individuals in the development and use of good practices that are designed to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effects of non-point source discharges as a result of land use activities. This approach encourages good practice and practical measures which ensure adverse effects, are avoided or are minor. The good practices can be captured and promoted in guideline documents. Appropriate existing guidelines are:

  1. Dairying and the Environment: Farm management issues1.
  2. Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use2.
  3. NZ Forest Code of Practice3.
  4. Design guidelines for earthworks, tracking and crossings4.
  5. Riparian Management Guidelines5.
  6. Section 3.9.7 (Use of Fertilisers) of this Plan.
  7. The Fonterra Accord.
  8. Doing it Right: Franklin Sustainability Project Guide to Sustainable Land Management.
  9. New Zealand Deer Farmers Landcare Manual.

Method provides that Waikato Regional Council will use environmental education programmes to raise the community’s awareness regarding non-point source discharges and land use effects on water bodies.

Working with local communities and care groups is also encouraged as an important mechanism for increasing community awareness and ensuring that streamside areas are managed in an appropriate manner. Support could include facilitation and information to existing care groups and encouragement, planning information and advice to assist new care groups or community initiatives. These types of groups have a major input into enhancing and establishing streamside areas that are important in terms of managing nonpoint source discharges.

Method promotes integrated management between Waikato Regional Council and territorial authorities. This is important because, although Waikato Regional Council has a direct role in managing water quality, territorial authorities control the effects of land use under s31 of the RMA, and to this extent, Waikato Regional Council and territorial authorities need to work together to jointly manage this issue.

Economic incentives in Method are also promoted as a way of managing land use effects. Through such incentives, Waikato Regional Council can support projects that assist with minimising the impacts of land use activities on water bodies. This includes the provision made under Section 3.4.9 of the Waikato RPS allowing territorial authorities to apply for financial assistance from Waikato Regional Council. This is particularly in regard to the acquisition of esplanade areas where regionally significant values or resources are involved, or where Waikato Regional Council considers assistance is necessary to achieve the objectives and policies of this Plan or the Waikato RPS.

The implementation of streamside management areas and the establishment of riparian vegetation has been proven to avoid and mitigate the effects of non-point source discharges. Method promotes the development of a publicly available streamside management fund. It is proposed to develop a fixed contestable fund in Council’s Annual Plan budget.

Method describes an undertaking by Waikato Regional Council to build on preliminary riparian management and non-point source discharge reports to develop a system which will provide guidance as to the location, method and extent of riparian management within the Region.

Method gives an early indication of future methods such as a regulatory “backstop” that Waikato Regional Council will use, where voluntary action by landowners has not taken place and where significant adverse effects of unrestricted livestock access are still occurring. Rules in Section 4.3.5 provide for livestock entering or crossing the beds and banks of rivers and lakes.

Method encourages research into the adverse effects of fertiliser use, farming techniques to minimise leaching and other methods that reduce nutrient contamination. Such research will result in a better understanding of the effects of nutrients on water bodies and which will in turn lead to development of farm management techniques and other methods that better utilise nutrients and reduce the adverse effects on water bodies. Research can be undertaken by Waikato Regional Council or outside organisations with an interest in nutrient management.

Method recognises that it may be necessary to impose restrictions on the use of fertiliser or nitrogen leaching in addition to supporting voluntary compliance with the New Zealand Fertiliser Manufacturers’ Research Association Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use 1998, in order to manage land and water in the Region to reduce adverse effects of nonpoint source discharges.

Section 17 of the RMA places a duty on every person to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse environmental effects. Method promotes the use of Part XII of the RMA, where poor land management practices and decisions result in significant adverse effects on the water quality of streams and rivers. In these situations, Waikato Regional Council will apply to take enforcement action by way of an enforcement order, abatement notice or other mechanism under Part XII or the RMA. This may require a person to cease, or prohibit from commencing, an activity that may result in those effects occurring. Apart from within the Lake Taupo Catchment, Waikato Regional Council is taking a non-regulatory approach to management of non-point source discharges as it considers this is the most effective method for changing behaviour in the long term. However, there is also a mechanism needed to require improvement or remediation in the event of serious effects caused by inappropriate land use practices.

Research has shown that fertilisers are a source of phosphate and nitrate in the Region’s water bodies. These contaminants enter water where fertilisers are leached out of the soils and enter either surface or ground water. Rule acknowledges that, while the inappropriate use of fertilisers can adversely affect water quality, the use of fertilisers should be a permitted activity. The Rule does not permit the discharge of fertilisers into water. Should this occur causing significant adverse effects on water, Waikato Regional Council is able to use Part XII enforcement. To assist resource users understand their obligations under a range of industry codes of practice a good practice guide based on the key points of those codes is attached in Section 3.9.7 of this Plan. Waikato Regional Council will monitor the adverse effects of fertiliser use on water quality. If monitoring shows that the adverse effects of fertiliser use are unsustainable, Waikato Regional Council may consider reviewing its nonregulatory approach when the Plan is reviewed.


<< Previous 


 Next >>

About this site     Contact us     Feedback and complaints New Zealand Government